Wednesday April 25 2012

Floods wreak havoc in Kenya

By Monitor correspondents

Massive flooding in many parts of Kenya has lead to the loss of several lives and destruction of property of undetermined value.

On Sunday, a church retreat turned tragic when seven people drowned in flash floods at the Hells Gate National Park in Naivasha, a two hours drive form the capital Nairobi.

They were part of a group of 35 young men and women from the Mukara Presbyterian Church of East Africa in Dagoretti, Nairobi, who had gone on a trip at the park.

The group left Nairobi in the morning and was expected back at 4pm, according to the Rev. Nancy Muthoni, the parish minister.

Survivors told the Nation that a group of 15 had entered a gorge at the park just before dusk, but were trapped by sudden floods.

Guides accompanying the youth group rescued eight.

The area MP John Mututho blamed Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), saying the group should have been guided properly.

“They run the park and they know how safe or unsafe it is, we cannot call it bad luck. Someone must be responsible and KWS is to blame,” he said by phone.

Elsewhere, four people died and hundreds were left homeless in flash floods across the country.

Three were killed after a downpour in Gwassi, in the western part of the country at the weekend.

Seven others are missing. Kenya Red Cross officials and Administration Police recovered three bodies in Suba District.

In Wiga Valley, East Gwassi, the flood waters swept away houses, crops and livestock, it said.
In Migori to the west, a 12-year-old girl drowned while swimming in River Migori on Saturday.

In Kisii, the heavy rains destroyed five toilets of Ebiosi Secondary School.

“We have been forced to cut short the holiday remedial classes because we cannot operate without toilets,” said the school’s principal, Mr Enock Makori.

In Maragua in central Kenya, 15 families were rendered homeless when a landslide destroyed their houses, the Red Cross said.

A storm blew off the roof of several houses, in Mlolongo and Machakos County to the east. A number of families were rendered homeless in Syokimau, Beijing Road Phase Three and near Mlolongo Police Station.
The homeless families are camping at Mlolongo Primary School.

Several families living near River Nzoia and Lusumu in Kakamega County suffered heavy losses after floods destroyed their crops and swept away bridges.

The Kenya National Highways Authority chief executive Meshack Kidenda (KeNHA) promised that reconstruction of roads and bridges destroyed by heavy rains will begin after the rains subside.By Maurice Kaluoch, Jackline Moraa, Otieno Owida and John Shilitsa.